Volume 65 Number 66 
      Produced: Wed, 27 Jul 22 15:46:52 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Ba'al Peor and Balfour 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
College and Professions 
    [Joel Rich]
Israeli singer defends refusal to shake Biden's hand 
    [Martin Stern]
Sefer Bound Upside-Down 
    [Chana Luntz]
The nature of Midrash (2)
    [Joseph Kaplan  Yisrael Medad]
The State of Israel and the return thereto is justified 
    [Haim Snyder]
Waiving Aveilut 
    [Joel Rich]


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 27,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Ba'al Peor and Balfour

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 65#64):

> Prof. L. Levine quotes in response to my reaction to his quoting a "Gadol", from
> a Neturei Karta site, enough to disqualify his outlook approach, that we need
> depend on the Three Oaths as if they can prohibit "mass return to Erztz
> Yisrael". They cannot and the simple proof is that one of the Oaths 'prohibits'
> "the nations that they would not oppress Israel too much". That has never been
> the case and so, elementary logic indicates that it is just a Midrash.

I remember seeing an answer that stated that since the goyim violated the "third
oath" the first two (which were supposedly stated by Bnai Yisroel, were
therefore no longer valid. Thus, there is no longer any reason that Bnai Yisroel
would be forbidden to make aliyah.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 26,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: College and Professions

This is a note I sent to a MO pulpit rav after hearing a presentation he

> You might want to tell your community members or individuals who are thinking
> about secular college experience about this: The base rate fallacy, also
> called base rate neglect or base rate bias, is a type of fallacy in which
> people tend to ignore the base rate (i.e., general prevalence) in favor of
> the individuating information (i.e., information pertaining only to a specific
> case).  Unfortunately we don't generate much in the way of statistics in our
> community (saves us the trouble of having to set quantifiable goals?)
> You might also want to consider setting up programs so some of those role
> models who are in the workforce who can connect with younger folks who are not
> going on the rabbinate track. Only setting up folks who are in the rabbinate as
> role models may not be that effective in these cases
> Lastly on going into the rabbinate/teaching, I think the need for realistic
> expectations is important. We should certainly try to increase the supply
> with competitive compensation but in my humble opinion it starts at a very
> young age understanding what it means to be a part of the people of destiny.
> I'm not sure weve done such a good job at that.

I'd be interested in this group's reactions

She-nireh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu (may we
see the consolation of Jerusalem and its rebuilding speedily in our days ),

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 26,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Israeli singer defends refusal to shake Biden's hand

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 65#65):

> Prof. Levine asks (MJ 65#64):
>> Why is it that those who live in what they term a Jewish State are opposed to
>> basic halacha?
> a. It is the Jewish state and not just "what they term".
> b. Does he really think, or imagine, that "basic halacha" is somehow a
> presumed obligatory, or even an accepted, mode of behavior amongst Jews
> anywhere? (not to mention the various exceptions in the case of mixed-sex
> handshaking - and ignoring that Biden is not Jewish)

I cannot speak for Prof. Levine but I think any Orthodox Jew must consider
"basic halacha is an ... obligatory ... mode of behavior" personally as far as
s/he is concerned. Unfortunately, many Jews do not accept this for themselves,
and fail to fulfil their halachic obligations, and one has to accept that it is
not possible to enforce them in practice.

However, the case of mixed-sex handshaking is not part of "basic halacha" as I
explained previously (MJ 65#65).

Martin Stern


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 27,2022 at 03:17 AM
Subject: Sefer Bound Upside-Down

Immanuel Burton wrote [MJ 65#64]:

> Following on from the discussion about placing a tallit on top of a siddur, 
> what are people's thoughts regarding a sefer that has been bound upside-down, 
> i.e. the cover has been attached upside-down? Which way up should it be 
> placed on a shelf? Should it be placed the right way up for the cover so that 
> it doesn't appear as if it's upside-down, or should it be place the right way 
> up for the contents?

This is a really interesting one. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 282 s'if 5)

"We do not throw away holy writings, even halachot and aggadot"

and the Rema adds:

"And it is forbidden to turn one over onto its face and if one finds it so, one
needs to turn it over (Maharil)"  

The Aruch HaShulchan (Yoreh Deah 282 letter 11) adds as follows:

"We do not throw holy writings (Eruvin 98a), and when we give them to someone
else", we do not do it by throwing, but we put them in their hand. And it is
even forbidden to throw halachot and agadot because of the disgrace. And it is
forbidden to turn them over on their faces, and when one finds a book that is
reversed one should turn it over so it is placed in its correct way. And so it
is forbidden to stand it upside down, that the heads of the letters are at the
bottom. And when one finds one standing upside down, one should turn it over and
stand it correctly ..."

But in Immanuel's case we have two competing aspects:

a) the actual sefer, which I would tend to agree with others is the inside, not
the cover, so the placing of the inside upside down would seem to be a direct
contradiction of the Rema/Aruch HaShulchan, while the cover seems to be there
fundamentally to protect and support the contents,

b) the appearance of the sefer.

The problem, it seems to me, with putting the cover upside down, is that even
though one is not actually showing bizayon [disgrace] to the underlying sefer,
to the casual observer one appears to be doing so - so it feels like a marit
ayin [suspicious action] issue, i.e. one is giving the appearance of doing a
prohibited action.  And particularly given that, following the Rema/Aruch
HaShulchan, people will feel obligated to turn it over, so one is creating a
scenario where people might not notice that the content is inverted and keep
turning it, or keep going to turn it even if they notice, so not ideal.

In addition, while the cover might be fundamentally there to protect and support
the contents, the writing on the cover (which is upside down) has the function
of helping a learner identify the sefer when needed, which cannot be so easily
done if it is upside down. One is therefore making the sefer more difficult to
learn from if the cover is upside down.

I confess that I personally would be tempted to get it fixed or cover the front
cover with a handmade cover showing the correct way up or lie it on its side in
the bookcase rather than up and down.  But that is avoiding the issue.




From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 26,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: The nature of Midrash

Martin Stern writes (MJ 65#65):

> Yisrael is making a fundamental error in referring to the Three Oaths as "just a
> Midrash" as if it were some sort of fairy tale, which can be ignored by
> 'enlightened' people.
> While a midrash, by its very nature, is not meant to be understood in a literal
> sense, this does not mean that it is not meant to carry a valuable message,
> albeit clothed in a poetic or allegorical form.

Martin is, I believe, correct that midrashim are more than fairy tales and carry
valuable messages. Indeed, I would guess that Yisrael Medad, to whom Martin was
responding, would agree as well. But message is not halacha, and yeshivat eretz
yisrael is halacha. So, any understanding the message of the three oaths
midrash, must not ignore halacha nor, I would add, the many years of Jewish
history and the bracha of a flourishing State of Israel in which almost half of
the world's Jews reside today. With a State of Israel that is 74 years old and
with the issue of the Three Oaths having been beaten to death such that we know
who the minority are who accept this as a reason not to establish a state and
who the majority are who reject that argument (with many Torah scholars on both
sides), to raise the three oaths as a proof against a mass return to Eretz
Yisrarel as if that issue has not been debated since the creation of the state
is not particularly convincing.


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 27,2022 at 12:17 AM
Subject: The nature of Midrash

Martin Stern writes (MJ 65#65) that I made "a fundamental error in referring to
the Three Oaths as "just a Midrash" as if it were some sort of fairy tale, which
can be ignored by 'enlightened' people."

He has erred but I do not know if fundamentally, purposely or inadvertently.

Perhaps if I frame it so, that the categories are Halacha vs. Hashkafa, will he
grasp the fundamental difference between a Midrashic interpretation proffered by
our Sages and a direct edict of behavior found in the Torah such as to reside in
the land, to settle in a tribal portion, not to leave it and so on. I would
expect that enlightened people would recognize such a difference. In addition, I
could add many of the decisive opinions of the Talmud and Rishonim as to whether
it is preferable to live in the Land of Israel even under the rule of a foreign
occupying power.

Indeed, I might think enlightened people understand that up until a very few
anti-Enlightenment Rabbis decided to cast Zionism in the role of an enemy in a
fairy-tale configuration of their own making, that less-than-observant Jews are
depurifying the Land of Israel, anti-Zionism as we know it was non-existent.

Yisrael Medad


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 27,2022 at 03:17 AM
Subject: The State of Israel and the return thereto is justified

There has been a discussion recently as to whether it is proper to recognize the
State of Israel and move there because of a medrash.

There is a blessing in the weekday Amida which, in my opinion, provides the
proof that the State of Israel is justified. It is the 10th blessing, 'mikabetz
nidchei amo yisrael'.

The opening of the blessing, 't'ka bshofar gadol l'cheiruteinu' [blow the great
shofar for our freedom]' relates to the announcement of the establishment of the
state. A great shofar, when blown, is heard all around the world. When David
Ben-Gurion announced the establishment of the State of Israel everywhere in the
world people paid attention. To this day, Israel is frequently in world news.

The next section 'v'sah nes l'kabeitz galuteinu' [and raise a flag to gather in
our exiles] is clear and obvious, as is the next phrase 'v'kabtzeinu yachad
mei'arbah canfot haaretz' [and gather us together from the four corners of the

Since this blessing was written well before the founding of the State of 
Israel, I believe it could, in fact, be the prophecy required by the medrash.

There are 2 reasons why we still make this blessing, First, because the
ingathering is not complete (most of you who are reading this don't live in
Israel). Second, there isn't an authority which is capable of removing it.

I can only wish that you join me here soon.


Haim Shalom Snyder

Petah Tikva


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 26,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Waiving Aveilut

There's a difference of opinion as to whether a parent can waive the twelve
month aveilut for their child. What are the arguments for doing or not doing so?
(From the parent's and the child's point of view)

She-nireh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu (may we see the
consolation of Jerusalem and its rebuilding speedily in our days),

Joel Rich


End of Volume 65 Issue 66